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Our temperatures climbed into the 20’s today, making it much more enjoyable to be outside.  I headed out for a walk in the woods this afternoon.  All was quiet except for the sound of my boots breaking through the snow.  Occasionally the wind would kick up and rustle the remaining oak leaves that have stiffened in the cold and still cling to the trees.  As we’re in the northern part of the United States, north of the 45th parallel of north latitude, the sun still hangs low in the sky even near noon, resulting in lovely shadows that stretch across the landscape.  With snow covering the ground, these shadows create patterns and designs that are soft and seem to dance in the wind.  It was a beautiful show that was put on for me as I stood in the relative quiet to soak up the available sun.

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The sun had just set, and the twilight was slowly diminishing.  On the opposite shore of the lake, the full moon rose quietly.  It gracefully cleared the trees and its light sent a column of brightness across the ice.  The weather has been unusually warm so the ice was not solid and clear.  The moon’s light showed the imperfections of the ice, along with the leaves that have been embedded during the colder nights.  It was a beautiful study of light, patterns, hardness and softness.

I was at the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park the other day and found myself mesmerized by the palms.  They’re towering and huge but this day the sun was filtering through the dome and creating some imaginative shadow and light plays.  Part of it reminded me of puppet shows we used to create when we were children.   I found myself trying to make up stories as to what was going on.  This image seemed to be of a flock of birds at the bottom; others weren’t as abstract as this.  Either way, the lines, the colors, the shadows, and the light all came together amongst the palms.

A perfect summer’s day found us wandering amongst lakes in central Minnesota, north of Mille Lacs.  Blue sky, puffy clouds, a light breeze and a warm sun were all part of this epitome of summer.  As we were out on the water my eye became focused on the reflection in the water.  In one slow shutter-speed moment, the blue sky above was reflected in the surface.  White clouds streaming by lent their movement, and the darker gray and dark blue of the water itself gave a wonderful abstract.

fall-color-reflection-14359_staatsI was up early yesterday morning hoping for a beautiful sunrise to compliment the fall colors that we’re enjoying in Minnesota.  But as luck would have it, the cloud cover was too thick and there was no sunshine.  However, it was unusually warm and the colors were still wonderful.  There was enough wind to throw ripples across the lake and there was a shoreline that was mostly protected from the wind.  Looking through the camera lens I was mesmerized by the color reflection in the water.  The slight movement created a blur of colors and the more I looked at it the more I was reminded of the Northern Lights, only here they were playing out as reflections in a northern lake.

fern-design-14021_staatsI spent a couple of hours this morning at the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park.  The flowers were beautiful and the rain gradually cleared away while I was there.  But today I was seeing lines, rather than colorful flowers.  I spotted this fern near a window.  Gracefully it arched upward, and its tips hung down and even swirled over itself.  I walked around the fern and photographed many of the branches.  And then I saw this one as I was looking down.  Its green color was complimented by the flooring stones and it spread and twirled below where I stood.  For some reason this image became all about the simplicity, the lines, the colors, and the gracefulness of the fern.

Garlic scapes 13554_StaatsFor the past few years our vegetable garden bed has included garlic.  So very easy to grow, but the highlight to me is at this time of year, about a month prior to harvest.  Certain varieties of garlic develop scapes – a bulb or flower near the top of a characteristic curled stem.  They appear graceful as they twist and curve on the long stems high above the ground.  Even better is that they are delicious and provide a “preview of coming attractions” prior to the actual bulb harvest.  We particularly enjoy them sauteed, lending a subtle garlic flavor to whatever they are served with.

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